Kava is said to have originated on the archipelago of Vanuatu, whose name means “The Land Eternal.” It has been domesticated throughout Oceania (Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia). It comes from places referred to by many of us as paradise, including Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga and Hawaii where it is called Awa. This member of the Pepper family (Piperacea) has been used for centuries in different ceremonies promoting social, cultural and religious enhancement. Oceanic cultures revere this plant, and its importance to them is much deeper than support for relaxation.*
What is Kava Used For?
The exact mechanism of action on the nervous system is unknown; however, it is likely that many phytochemicals in Kava, including kavalactones, contribute to the activity of this herb. Clinical studies show great promise for Kava to support healthy lung tissue and as a supportive aid for the nervous system.* Kava has a calming and relaxing effect on the body and is supportive during periods of occasional stress.* Gaia Herbs uses only the Noble varieties of Kava Root and no above-ground parts of Kava. Kava has a root stump and lateral roots, and the lateral roots are used preferentially. The roots are imported whole (no powdered material is used) from Vanuatu, where we have a close business relationship with the native growers.
Traditional Health Benefits of Kava
Additional Information on this Herb
Kavalactones, kawain, dihydrokawain, methysticin, dihydromethysticin, yangonin, and others.
Piscopo G. Kava Kava. Gift of the Islands. Alt. Med. Rev. 1997; 2(5):355-64. Voltz HP. Kieser M. Kava Kava Extract WS1490 V. PHAM-Acopsychiat. 1997; 30-25. Blumenthal, M. et al. The Complete German Commission E Monographs. Austin. American Botanical Council; 1998: 156-7.
US FDA advises that a potential risk of rare, but severe, liver injury may be associated with kava-containing dietary supplements. Ask a healthcare professional before use if you have or have had liver problems, frequently use alcoholic beverages, or are taking any medication. Stop use and see a doctor if you develop symptoms that may signal liver problems, including jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes) and brown urine. Other nonspecific symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, light-colored stools, unexplained tiredness, weakness, stomach or abdominal pain, and loss of appetite. Not for use by persons under 18 years of age, or by pregnant or breast feeding women. Not for use with alcoholic beverages. Excessive use, or use with products that cause drowsiness, may impair your ability to operate a vehicle or heavy equipment. Use only as directed on label.
- This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.
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